Technology

Tips for taking travel photos like a pro

Will Norquay

Do you ever wish that your travel photos could come out looking as good as the photos they use on postcards? Or maybe you long to have a photo album that will make your friends think they are flipping through the pages of National Geographic?

No matter what your experience is with taking travel photos, everyone can learn how to take the kind of pictures they can be proud to show their friends when they get back home. Take a look at the following tips and then reward yourself with a little practice.

The rule of thirds

One of the most popular rules of composition teaches us to break an image into three equal parts. This can be done either horizontally or vertically. If you feel like taking it to the next level, you can do both.

Begin by imagining a grid overlaying your screen — most cameras even have a setting for this so you can see an actual 3×3 grid over your photo.

The idea is to place the subjects of your photograph — those things that you are most interested in — at the natural points of interest. These are the points on the grid where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect.

When composing your photos with a distinct line running across, like a horizon, place it on either the upper or lower line. So you would have 1/3 land and 2/3 sky, for example. A good tip for sunsets.

Leading lines

This tip is all about making it easy for the viewer to quickly identify the subject and focus for the picture.

With a concept known as leading lines, you can take advantage of natural geography or other features that naturally draw the viewer in and lead their eyes toward the main subject of the photo.

Examples of this are roads, railroad tracks that appear to converge, a path leading up a trail, stairs, etc. The idea is to place your subject along these lines so that attention is drawn to them in a very subtle and natural way.

Foreground, midground, and background

Expansive landscapes with large mountains or city skylines can tend to look flat and uninteresting in photographs. Not at all like how they appeared when you were taking the photograph.

That can happen when we fail to give our pictures perspective so the scale of the images make some sense in our minds. When you are setting up your shot, especially when taking pictures of landscapes, consider featuring other elements in the foreground and midground of the photograph.

For example, if you are taking a picture of a gorgeous mountain in the distance, try positioning your shot so there is something like a rock, a fence, or a person in the foreground. This will give your picture scale and balance.

The light

No matter what your subject is, you want to be aware of the light. All light is not created equal in the eye of the camera lens. Midday sun can be harsh and bright, washing out your pictures completely.  Spectacular fireworks can come out looking sad and tired. Very often, using the flash that comes with your camera (or phone) is not the best choice for light that creates beautiful and interesting photos. Natural, soft light is the best. The shadows add visual interest without being too dark to see the critical detail.

Fill the frame

Don’t be afraid to fill every part of the frame with your subject. In that way, no extraneous or boring miscellaneous items will draw attention away from what you want to feature. And remember the old saying, if your pictures aren’t interesting, you aren’t close enough.

Will Norquay is a frequent business traveller who shares his experiences and thoughts writing for Stayz. Stayz is Australia’s #1 holiday rental website.

 


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